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The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport Review and Pirates! Expansion

Quick Look:

Designers: Nate Heiss, Jeff Morrow, and Sam Waller
Artists: Erin Wong
Publisher: SlugFest Games
Year Published: Base - 2016; Pirates Expansion - 2018
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 40-100 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com - Base and Expansion


Rules and Setup:
To start, you will choose a scenario which will determine what monsters, locations, and bosses you will use in the game. Each player will choose a character and take their three Character cards, their nine-card starting deck, and the deck divider. Each player shuffles and draws five cards and then adds their Level 1 hero to their hand. Level 2 and Level 3 cards are used for encounters 2 and 3, respectively. Each player starts with 10 hit points (health) unless the scenario says otherwise. Setup the Reinforcement and Item decks by revealing four non-gold cards of each. You will proceed to the encounter setup, where you will look at the card for your scenario and follow the information on it. This will add monsters to the location, add monsters in front of each player, add location HP, and give each player recruitment coins.

When playing the game, whoever has the round marker is the defending player, and monsters in front of other players will not attack; they are "in hiding." Each round, you will attack monsters in front of the defending player or location. Your actions on your turn are as follows: play a hero (only one hero per round), play an item on a hero of the matching type (magic and physical), choose whether to fight a monster, and choose whether to taunt a monster (this allows a monster to be pulled from another location to be set in front of the defending player, but only the player with the round marker can taunt).

When attacking, tank monsters must be attacked before non-tank monsters. Ranged monsters can subsequently only be attacked if you have defeated all other non-ranged monsters. Players will need to plan their actions carefully if they wish to take out the more difficult threats.

After players, monsters attack with the amount of damage listed on their card (this will be only the active player and the monsters at the location). If any cards show a cleanup marker, that action can then be performed. The defending player will then use their coins to recruit one card from the reinforcements or buy a new item to equip on one of their heroes. The defending player will then discard down to five cards, not counting their main hero. They can choose to discard additional cards if they choose and draw cards to refill their hand back to five cards. Just like any deck builder, if you have nothing more to draw, shuffle your deck and draw from those cards. The player's hero is never shuffled into the deck. The Taunt marker is passed with the "taunt" side shown, and the monsters in front of that player are now active.

When all monsters in play are defeated, the encounter is over. Players will then use all their coins to recruit more cards to go into their hand immediately. You will then discard cards as usual and refill to five plus your main hero card, who will have leveled up (use the next level card for now on). Each player heals a number of hit points, depending on whether you are playing hard (0), medium (1), or easy (2). Clean up the encounter and set up for the next one. Each scenario has its own win/loss conditions.

The Pirates! expansion includes a few errata for the base game, including the addition of Rest Healing (the hit points you regain when leveling up) and a revised version of the introductory scenario from the base game, and Baelfire (one of the boss monsters) has been slightly modified to indicate that the location cannot be saved while he is in play.

More importantly, this expansion adds new heroes and items, player heroes, cannon dice (with sides numbering 1,2,2,2,3,3), and dice for older abilities like snipe and splash. There are also three new abilities: Raid, Vision, and Triple Wield. Raid means when a monster deals damage to a player, it also deals the same damage to the location. So essentially, if there is a raid monster in play, the location cannot be saved until that monster is dead. Vision lets you stack the deck in your favor; you will be able to do this on any deck you would like in the game. Triple Wield for Level 3 Remy lets you equip three items on him.

Of course, there are also pirate ships included: The Blackened Kraken, The Miasma, and The Dragon's Fist. These ships might spawn monsters or deal damage until you destroy them.

There are five new scenarios added, as well: one easy, three medium, and one hard.

Theme and Mechanics:

You and your companions are returning to Greyport after a long adventure. You are looking forward to relaxing and spending your loot at The Red Dragon Inn. As you return, you see that the city is under attack, and the relaxing will have to wait! Once you defeat the monsters who are attacking what seems to be three different locations, you can finally relax and party at The Red Dragon Inn.

The game is a co-op deck builder that uses dice rolling for combat against monsters. The game combines these mechanics in a way that guides the game and connects to the theme well, as monsters are not always active in all locations.

The expansion is very similar to the base game, while adding new cards, items, and some new abilities and mechanics. When playing the game, you should be able to understand the new additions fairly easily, but there are card-specific notes in the rulebook that help clarify any issues. The theme of pirates is added to the game using pirate ships, pirates, and actions like raiding. The scenarios follow these themes in their own unique ways.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork keeps to the familiar style done in most of the Red Dragon Inn games. The components are mostly cards, and they're to industry standards. The bigger cards that describe the scenarios including the locations are all done of the same card stock. The tokens are standard cardboard and are used to represent money and health. The dice included use big numbers, and they're very simple to read.

The game includes cardboard organizers to keep the cards neatly in the box. There is enough room in the base game for future expansions like Pirates!.

The Good:
The game can be hard to win, but the new rules have helped make it a little easier to get through all the locations without dying. The cards you can buy make the game exciting as you want all the good stuff you can find, yet you can only buy one item in the store each time. The taunt action helps you control the game a little more. Each character has a unique special ability, and each one is fun to try out at least once.

The Pirates! expansion adds some great new scenarios and makes the game fresh again. There are new abilities that also help to keep the game engaging and new. The expansion comes with deck dividers that you can place in the base game box. The addition of the ships brings an interesting layer to the game, as you need to be aware of their abilities as well as the monsters'.

The Bad:
The game can be brutal when you get attacked by certain monsters and there is nothing you can do to defend it. There seems to be a waste in your hand of cards each round, as you will most likely use your character to attack, and if not, you will only need one other person to attack. When you have a hand of characters and no items, then you most likely will waste most of those cards.

When returning to the other scenarios after playing with Pirates!, it seems like the game provides less decisions, less actions, and less chaos. The expansion has mostly medium-difficulty scenarios, with only one easy scenario and one hard scenario added to the game; I would have preferred a more even spread.

Final Thoughts:
The game is great for a co-op game, where you are all playing on the same team. The game includes many decisions that can change your scenario and what might happen in the future. The expansion adds some new elements to the game which makes the game feel fun and new again. The pirate theme is used well with the expansion, and if you liked the base game, you need to check out this expansion.

Check out The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport and The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport - Pirates! on:


About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.
The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport Review and Pirates! Expansion The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport Review and Pirates! Expansion Reviewed by Brody on June 21, 2018 Rating: 5

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